#SheTravels Road Tripping in Australia – The Gold Coast

April 1, 2020


From the City to the Country and on to the Coast, Palm Beach on the magnificent Gold Coast was our next destination. It had been very hot since we’d left Brisbane so here at the beach were sea breezes to savour, walks to be taken and waves to be caught. Our esky had also come in handy for cooling the champagne, so it was nice and cold when we reached our destination. We looked out at the majestic ocean and marvelled at how far we’d managed to travel in just one day, through farmland, rainforest and country towns, right back down the highway to the coast. It had been a most marvellous day, but we weren’t finished yet.

In the evening we headed to local restaurant, Balboa Italian, which was abuzz with laughter, family groups and chatter on this Wednesday night. This charming two storey Italian has been serving authentic wood fired pizza and the freshest Italian dishes to beachgoers, locals and holidaymakers since 2016. The restaurant has an ultra chic fit out. I loved the upstairs chandelier and the open kitchen with a wood fired pizza oven front and centre.

Our meal started with tasty warm Australian olives and a burrata and tomato dish. I had been craving mushrooms since driving past a mushroom farm on our trip, so I enjoyed the mushroom risotto and friends tried the parpadelle with ragu and two different types of pizza which were massive, enough to share between two. The quality and service was spot on.

Reaching home the weary travellers did not take too long to get to sleep, lulled by the sound of the waves and the excitement of our first big day. Too soon the sun was streaming in telling us it was time for our morning walk. We walked along the coast, traversing the headland up to Burleigh Heads. Burleigh was buzzing with walkers, surfers, beachcombers and families enjoying a dip before beginning their day. Beach walking is one of my very favourite things to do. It’s so calming. This beautiful morning was no exception and was a lovely way to start our second day of travel. 

On the way home we stopped at one of the Gold Coast’s newest and most inviting  new cafés – Custard Canteen. This is attached to the Tallebudgera school camp and has recently been beautifully landscaped. Tables with jaunty red and white umbrellas lure you in and there are pots of colourful, happy flowers. I enjoyed poached eggs with mushrooms and gluten free toast and a delicious almond milk latte.

The café is also known for their delicious Portuguese tarts and pastries. It seemed everyone was leaving with a six pack of these sweet treats. We had to share one to see what all the fuss was about. It was delicious.The staff are friendly and attentive and we liked it so much we went back the next day, too. A great little spot to while away the morning. 

We walked some more, relaxed and read before it was time for our biggest treat of the holidays. For lunch, we visited what has been voted as the number one restaurant in Queensland by Delicious magazine, Rick Shores. Rick Shores is right on the beach at Burleigh Heads and it’s as if you are sitting on the beach. We had a superb table right at the front window, so it was fun people watching in air conditioned comfort. Head Chef James Brady serves Pan Asian flavours focussing on fresh locally sourced produce with intention to share….. and share we did. 

We began with my favourite cocktail, a traditional Margarita for two of us. The others were keen to try the refreshing Seedlip mocktail. Then it was time to order. For starters we shared Karaage Chicken, Kewpie and Gochujang plus some Crispy Cauliflower,  Pepita Satay and Kimchi Yoghurt. Both were winners!  I’m not a seafood fan so I let the girls share a serve of the iconic ‘ Ricks ‘ Fried Bug Roll, Gem Lettuce and Sriracha. They all agreed that it lived up to its hype. 

For main we shared the Red Duck Curry, Sichuan Caramel with Roti Bread, Rice and Miso Glazed Baby Carrots , Carrot Top Furikake and Hazelnuts. Red Curry Duck is one of my favourite dishes and this was a fine example with the rich red sauce encasing slices of perfectly cooked duck. We shared a crisp bottle of Riesling with our mains. Service throughout was impeccable. 

The destination restaurant filled quickly and I was excited to spy Gold Coast artist – Judy Brine. Judy painted the rick shaw painting which holds pride of place in the restaurant. She was dining with Brisbane fashionista friends Mary Dickinson and Lorelie Cunningham , so I was happy to say hello after our feast. The atmosphere was vibrant but relaxed and well worth visiting on your next trip to the Coast. 

Sated and happy we walked across to Cold Rock for a refreshing sorbet before heading home. Going home was easy and we noticed on the Gold Coast that every time we ordered an uber they were there in a flash. This is a big positive when you’re visiting for a mini break with no time to waste. Drivers were always friendly and courteous. 

The afternoon was spent walking along the beach and splashing in the waves before we enjoyed a cheese platter and champagne, talking long into the night. The morning was a repeat of the day before with more walking, this time in the direction of the Tallebudgera Creek holiday park before another delightful breakfast. Sadly we packed up to return home and the traffic was so good we were back in Brisbane by lunchtime.

 We really felt like we’d been gone a week rather than just two and a half days and of course, we had solved all the problems of the world, got to know each other even better and ticked a few places off the bucket list. 

It’s amazing how much of our beautiful country you can see on just a short driving trip. It’s true, ‘Our land abounds in nature’s gifts, of beauty rich and rare‘, so why not plan your own visit wherever you are in Australia. Holiday at home this year or day trip to an area which has been ravaged by floods or fire. I know you’ll come home rejuvenated, relaxed and  far more aware. I can guarantee the locals will welcome you and warmly appreciate the support. Road tripping in Australia is a great way to explore the diversity of this wide, brown land and now more than ever we need to spend our holidays at home and support our local businesses and communities.

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